Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Bits and Pieces

mixed media/china mosaic fireplace with mirrored hearth

Chip china mosaic is one of my favorite things to do, and is surprisingly simple, though it can be extremely time consuming.  This fireplace is the most mixed media mosaic I've ever been asked to do.  I loved hunting for things to embed. and then seeing the direction the design took, once we started placing the elements.  Along with thrift store china, there are bits of iron from a shelf found curbside on trash day, brooches from the client's grandmother, old typewriter keys, game pieces, flowers from a friend's ceramic vase, and a cherub from another friend's garden, broken mirror, and even glass cabinet knobs set at strategic points for hanging Christmas stockings.  Had the kitchen sink not been fiberglass, it might have made it into the mix.
click for close-up, click again to enlarge

mosaic end table
Tables present challenges, as even the flattest china plates have some curve, so lamps, knick-knacks and vases may not sit steady.  On this end table, I filled the previously glass center (glass missing) with painted plywood, and added the mosaic to the outside border.  Legs were cut off of a matching table to make the ottoman.

salvaged cabinet door frames a mosaic mirror
On this piece, seashells were added to the design, and a small dish to catch rings was clipped in half and added to the bottom.  I actually use tile nippers to break the plates, as it is easier to control the size of the pieces.  Just smashing the china usually creates a lot of unusable shards.

Here's a quick and simple project...Use a papier mache ball, glue on broken teacups, salt shakers, and other convex pieces, then grout in black for added graphic appeal.  Display one atop a candle stick, several in a silver dish, or even hang them as Christmas ornaments on a sturdy branched tree.

Paper mosaic tabletops are even and lightweight.
And then there's the easiest version...Paper mosaic.  Not any faster mind you, at least in the making.  What is faster is the collecting of patterns.  Rather than spending months haunting antique stores and flea markets for just the right colors and styles of dishes, spend twenty minutes at your nearest scrapbooking store.

The method is simple:  Paint your tabletop the color you want the grout to be, cut several patterns of scrap booking paper into inch to inch and a half pieces, arrange into a pleasing pattern, leaving even spaces between them for the "grout" to show, then glue down with white glue.  Once dry, coat with three coats of satin Poly-crylic.  The shine protects the surface, and adds to the illusion of china.   I'm amazed by how many people think this is the real thing, even after they touch it. 

Aside from the ease of collecting coordinating patterns, the other really nice thing is that you don't have to worry about your wine glass tipping on an uneven surface as with most china mosaic.  I don't know about you, but I think keeping a wineglass upright is challenge enough, without the wonky china hazard.

1 comment:

Susan Turney said...

Absolutely gorgeous fireplace! I love your blog and am a bit envious of the fun you have at "work"! I used to live in Rosemount and worked at NWA with Judy Pries whose husband Otto owns the Liquor store in Belle Plaine! (There always seems to be a connection)!!!